PODCAST – “An eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C., can often be the highlight of grade school – see the White House, meet your member of Congress. But students from North Ridgeville City School District outside of Cleveland, Ohio were notified recently their D.C. trip was canceled. Administrators called it off because of fears of a terrorist attack or a mass shooting” (Per NPR reporter Lulu Garcia-Navarro, November, 2017).
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PARENTS MADE THE DECISION TO NIX THE TRIP
The parents pressured the school superintendent to cancel the trip – noting a myriad of safety concerns from active shooter to a vehicle jumping onto a walking path. The killing of 8 people by a motorist intentionally driving on a Manhattan bike path in October likely contributed to the parents’ fears and the October 1st Las Vegas mass shooting certainly was fresh in the adults’ minds. To his credit, district superintendent Jim Powell was tactful in his statements, but also expressed regret in the parents’ collective position as he stated he had taken his own family on a trip to Washington D.C.
SENTINEL NATIONAL INCIDENTS CREATE MASS HYSTERIA AND CONVINCE PARENTS THE NATION IS NOT SAFE
When asked if he had to previously cancel a trip like this because of fears, superintendent Powell stated he recalled districts canceling trips right after 9/11/01. Lulu Garcia-Navarro pointed out that safety incidents can occur just about anywhere, whether in a small town or a big city. Her statement is interesting considering the November, 2017 mass murder at the church in tiny Sutherland Springs, Texas. Yes, these events can and do happen everywhere. Also, Washington D.C. boasts a strong police presence and its various public safety forces train diligently to promote safe environments for tourists. Furthermore, these students live 22 miles from Cleveland – which per several metrics I reviewed presents its own risks to personal safety.
DENYING ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS & THWARTING FUTURE RECONNAISSANCE
A statistical fact is that the students were as (un)likely to perish in a bus accident to / from DC as per being victims of an attack in DC. The odds were less than being struck by lightning. Teach awareness and learn safe travel tips. There are numerous reputable websites, as well as professional services, to help schools plan and carryout safe trips to the nation’s capital. Examples are https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/education and https://www.nationsclassroomtours.com/school-tours/school-trips-to-washington-dc Canceling this trip when there was not an imminent threat warning for DC sends powerful, and wrong, messages to youth. First, our nation’s capital is not safe, and hence, our nation is not safe. Second, you’re taking your lives in your own hands if you travel domestically or abroad. Third, forget about engaging in reconnaissance as a teen or young adult as America is simply too dangerous to explore without an armada. Learning how to be a safe traveler is an essential skill in our global economy. More than a trip to DC was taken from these students.
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School Trip to D.C. Canceled Over Fears of Mass Shooting by Lulu Garcia-Navarro, NPR (2017). Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2017/11/19/565153406/school-trip-to-d-c-canceled-over-fears-of-mass-shooting